B2B Sales Absurdity: Take Your Child To Work – Explain What You Do!
B2B sales, particularly tech sales, has been reduced to a theater of absurdities that no longer seems preposterous because it has become conventional wisdom.
When everyone takes precisely the same actions, with declining success to the point of almost universal failure, absurdity becomes an unchallenged habit.
It is not crazy if everyone else is doing it!
Let’s take a journey explaining this to our kid, taking her to work with us.
Let’s explain these daily habits:
We get lists from the marketing department of people they sent information to and we have to incessantly call them, interrupting their work, to see if they want more details about the information they are ignoring.
Our prospects have AI programs to stop unwanted, cold sales calls – from us! They use RoboProtector on their phone. Aha! We use “local presence dialing” so our area code looks like theirs; they think we are the vet or doctor calling. We trick them and expect them to buy from us!
We buy our prospect list from DiscoverOrg – the same list everyone in the tech industry uses. We wonder prospects don’t want to hear from us.
Sometimes someone calls us about our products. We set up a face-to-face meeting at their location. Our boss wants to come. The tech manager feels she should attend. There might be a technical question, so bring the tech rep. When we get to the person’s office, we waste the entire meeting looking for chairs since the interested buyer has only one.
We meet a buyer and present our offering and answer questions. He or she says, “thanks, let me go with this and I will get back to you.” We call the next day, and the next, and we email asking what is wrong, then call again. Our boss says he wants to meet with them, so we call again. The prospect hides.
We are having a quarterly business review (QBR) to review every deal in our pipeline. We only have two interested prospects, but our boss says we need to evaluate every potential prospect. We make up info about the prospect we only spoke on the phone with for 10 minutes and we make up close dates.
The VP of Sales asks what will close this quarter. We tell him $150,000 because that is in contracting and the quarter is 2 weeks off. He says he needs $350,000. We tell him it is not there, none of the deals have progressed that far. He demands the arbitrary $350,000. OK, so we take a couple of other deals and forecast them knowing they will not close.
Every 2 weeks we have a company meeting. The CEO and VP of People and Culture present the new training program about how to make the customer the center of our world. We are to make the customer’s needs our own. We practice empathy. After the training, the Sales VP goes over how to force the prospect to close this quarter even if they told us they cannot.
The company introduces a new marketing program, Account-Based Marketing. It focuses on a smaller number of prospects who NEED our offering. We blindly email them, cold call them, and nobody takes the calls. Our marketing department hires an Account-Based Marketing expert to show us what we are doing wrong. Quietly, we speak to one prospect and he says “…look, I just want to be left alone.”
Our training tells us to focus on key differentiators. Our Sales VP calls an all-day meeting with our marketing department. They spend the entire day explaining our key differentiator that we thought should be articulated in a single sentence. They cannot understand why the sales force is confused.
The Sales VP gets fired or opts to spend more time with his family. The new Sales VP tells us the problem is “execution.” She says we need more cold calls and to implement Account-Based Marketing.
Explain this to your 15 year-old-child. I dare you!
Reprinted from Software Executive Magazine OnLine